Kohl’s The Crossing
Bruce Von Stiers
It seems that lately I have been getting a lot of guitar based jazz albums to review. One such album is The Crossing. It is from jazz guitarist Frank Kohl.
From guitarists such as Eric Clapton to Linc Chamberland, Kohl had a lot of great musicians influence his own musical style. He was also at the Berklee College of Music at the time of fellow student Pat Matheney. After years of playing and recording in New York, Kohl moved out to the San Francisco Bay area, to the jazz scene there. He is now based in Seattle, but performs and records all over, including his old hometown, New York City.
Over the years, Kohl has recorded several well received albums. The Crossing is Kohl’s fifth album as a group leader. The album has nine songs and a play time of just under an hour. It is self-released. Kohl wrote several of the songs on the album.
The album’s musical setting is as a trio. Besides Kohl on guitar, there is John Stowell on guitar and nylon string guitar. And the third member of this trio is Steve LaSpina on acoustic bass. Stowell has performed with great such as Art Farmer, Lionel Hampton and Milt Jackson. LaSpina has played with Stan Getz, Andy LaVerne and Toots Thielemans among others.
The first offering of the album is the title track, The Crossing. Each guitarist gets the spotlight in this easy going tune, with a nice bit for the bass as well.
The Jobim song, O Grande Amour, has been recorded by a lot of artists, including a great rendition by Stan Getz. Here, Kohl and his trio do a nice job with their rendition. It is light with a good bass solo mixed in with the guitars.
The Masquerade Is Over has been recorded by Nancy Wilson and George Benson. Kohl does a pretty decent job with the rendition for this album.
Another original song for the album is The Goodbye. It is mellow, at times light and breezy.
Toe tapping fun can be found in parts of the Jerome Kern song, Yesterdays. The song has some good solos.
Middle of Nowhere is an original composition that with Kohl’s guitar up front. And then there is a light, toe tapping piece titled Sojourn.
The final original song on the album is New Moon. Kohl’s guitar playing is highlighted in this moderately paced piece.
The album closes with Brigas Nunca Mais, which is a gentle, endearing Jobim tune.
The Crossing is a great way to spotlight Frank Kohl’s talents on guitar. The Jobim songs are a nice touch and you can’t really go wrong doing a Jerome Kern tune. Not only does Kohl provide nice renditions, his original compositions are really good, giving ample playing time to the bass and other guitarist.
You can learn more about Frank Kohl and The Crossing at www.frankkohl.com